Every year, more than 4 million visitors make their way through the gates of Zion National Park. Of those visitors, researchers estimate that as many as 1,000 people a day hike — or attempt to hike — the park’s most famous trail; Angels Landing.
This bucket-list worthy hike is one of the many natural features that draw so many visitors to Zion National Park. But how those visitors hike to the summit is set to change in 2022. Keep reading to learn how.
What You Need to Know About Angels Landing
At around 5 miles roundtrip, Angels Landing isn’t the park’s longest trail. It’s also not the highest point in the park, though it can seem that way as you stand at the top. What makes this trail so dangerous is the steep climb that hikers must take, as well as the narrow ridgeline you’ll navigate as you near the trail’s peak.
Many hikers choose to turn around and go back at Scout’s Lookout, a spot that provides a view of the summit and doesn’t require you to make your way along the chain handrails at the top. The handrails help keep hikers steady as they walk along a narrow ridge with drop-offs that can stretch anywhere from 800 to 1,000 feet down.
Another famous feature of this popular trail is Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 switchbacks cut into the stone in 1924 to allow hikers to climb the steep rock face.
The incredible views from the trail’s summit make it a very popular hike, particularly during the park’s busiest times, including the summer months and around holidays. As a result, crowds often form on the trail. This can extend the amount of time that it takes to hike the trail.
Hiking Angels Landing in 2022
Up until now, hikers wishing to take on Angels Landing only needed to make it to the trailhead. While this could sometimes take time on busy days when lines for the Zion Shuttle got long, hikers could still pick a day and hike the trail if they didn’t mind waiting.
That’s about to change. Starting on April 1, 2022, all hikers hoping to take on Angels Landing will need to have a permit in order to do so.
The permit system is actually a pilot program. Rangers and park staff developed it following lessons that were learned when a ticket system was used to allow visitors to ride the park shuttle system while capacity was capped due to COVID-19.
Without a permit, visitors will not be permitted to hike the trail and will need to choose alternatives for that day instead.
How Can You Get a Permit to Hike Angels Landing?
Unfortunately, getting a permit won’t be as simple as requesting one. Because demand is expected to be high, the park is implementing a lottery system. There will be two ways to get a permit; by entering the Seasonal Lottery or the Day-Before Lottery.
There will be four Seasonal Lotteries for hiking permits throughout the year. The four time periods these lotteries will cover, and the dates the lottery for each opens and closes, include:
- Lottery for hikes between April 1 and May 31 opens on January 3 and closes January 20
- The Lottery for hikes between June 1 and August 31 opens April 1 and closes April 20
- Lottery for hikes between September 1 and November 30 opens July 1 and closes July 20
- The Lottery for hikes between December 1 and February 28, 2023, will open October 1 and close October 20
If you’re hoping to hike Angels Landing during one of the four time periods, you’ll choose seven dates and times or windows of dates and times, and rank them by the ones you prefer. It costs $6 to enter the Seasonal Lottery, and one entry can be used for 6 hikers.
If you receive a permit in the Seasonal Lottery, you’ll be charged an additional $3 per person for the permit. If you cancel your permit at least two days before your hike, you will get a refund.
If you miss the Seasonal Lottery or don’t get a permit, you can also enter the Day-Before Lottery. This lottery opens every day at 12:01 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. MST. You’ll find out whether you got a permit at 4:00 p.m. MST. The lottery only awards permits for hiking Angels Landing the next day.
This lottery also costs $6 to enter, and each entry can be used to obtain permits for 6 hikers. If you win a permit, you’ll be charged an additional $3 per person for the permit. This permit fee is non-refundable.
Hiking Angels Landing
While the permit system might make it a bit tougher to hike Angels Landing during your visit, it will help to alleviate crowds and keep hikers safer on the trail.
If you’re dreaming of hiking Angels Landing, you still have time to do so without a permit. In fact, the off-season is one of the best times to take on this trail with fewer crowds. Check with the park’s Visitor Center before starting your hike to make sure that the summit isn’t icy during your visit.Now is the time to book your winter visit! Book your stay at The Dwellings today to take advantage of our Winter Promo, and get a 50% discount on your tiny home vacation rental.